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May Chapman
Synthetic Polymer on Linen
121.5 x 92 cm
Martumili Artists


This is Mayiwalku’s Country- her ngurra (home country, camp). People identify with their ngurra in terms of specific rights and responsibilities, and the possession of intimate knowledge of the physical and cultural properties of one’s country. Mayiwalku’s ngurra encompasses the country that she and her family walked in the pujiman (traditional, desert-dwelling) era. Mayiwalku was born at Yirnangarri. She grew up, walked and hunted primarily around the country extending across the Punmu, Kunawarritji (Canning Stock Route Well 33) and Karlamilyi (Rudall River) regions. Following the death of both their parents, Mayiwalku and her sisters travelled alone between Punmu and Kunawarritji, occasionally meeting with other family groups. They continued to live nomadically before eventually deciding to move to Jigalong Mission along with many other relatives following an extreme and prolonged drought in the 1960s. Portrayed in this work are features of Mayiwalku’s ngurra, such as the dominant permanent red tali (sandhills), (trees, vegetation), and the water sources she and her family camped at. These include Januwa, Jilankujarra, Karlajarntu, Kartungu, Kularti, Kumpupajanu, Kunalimpi, Kunarra, Marnakarti, Pangkapirni, Wilunganinya, Wurur-wururna, Yilyara, and Yirrajarra.

Desert Mob is presented annually in Mparntwe | Alice Springs on Arrernte Country.

On behalf of Desart’s staff and art centre members, the Executive Committee humbly and respectfully acknowledge the Arrernte Apmereke Artweye (Traditional Owners) and Kwertengerle (Traditional Managers) of Mparntwe.


Desart respectfully advises Aboriginal readers that this website may contain names, images and artworks of people who have passed away.